12-Week Challenge: 2021 Fall Final Draft

I won’t lie: I based this challenge on a real course. While looking for professional advice for polishing the Book One draft, I received a friend-of-a-friend recommendation. Unfortunately, the course is for a FIRST draft (not Draft 3.2) and conflicts with my work schedule.

The syllabus emphasized plot-structure pacing. According to the instructor, plot points and/or conflicts occur about 4,000 words apart. Therefore, Week One has a lecture about The Hook (the reader’s emotional engagement) and requires students to write a lead-in to the first plot-point.

I got a silly vision of handing my boy-protagonist a weekly schedule and saying, “This is what I need you to do.” (The girl-protagonist would promptly flip the paper over to draw pictures.)

Yet that’s what I’m doing. Here’s my 12-week challenge schedule, and theme of the particular plot point or conflict.

Week One: September 20

Normal Life. As the protagonists know it.

Week Two: September 27

Inciting event for boy-protagonist. Meeting of protagonists. Inciting event for girl-character.

Week Three: October 4

Temporary Shelter. Protagonists think antagonist is thwarted and her problem will resolve itself.

Week Four: October 11

Rude awakening. Protagonists look to each other for help as situation is worse than thought.

Week Five: October 18

Separation 1. This is the “ditching the adults” part of children’s novels.

Week Six: October 25

The Crossroads.

Week Seven: November 1

The Breather. Aftermath of previous decision/loss.

Week Eight: November 8

Picking Up the Pace. Two chapters in which protagonists can’t address the ramifications of one conflict before another begins. Their goals clash. characters can’t properly address the ramifications of one conflict before another begins)

Week Nine: November 15

Hard Decisions. Separation of the protagonists.

Week Ten: November 22

Darkest Night. Separate chapters for each protagonist, each with an unexpected twist.

Week Eleven: November 29

The Climactic Sequence.  

Week Twelve: December 6

What happened afterwards; lead-in to next book.

5 thoughts on “12-Week Challenge: 2021 Fall Final Draft

    • Thanks. She’s a foil to other protagonist, who is rather serious. Strangely enough, she LIKES structure because her life was so chaotic. I had a lot of fun describing her messy room and “collections” of things.

  1. I think first-person works great when there’s a limit to the experience of your POV’s character, yet an authorial voice would kill suspense. The old Western novel Shane had a young kid who didn’t understand the nuances of adult relationships; a third person narration would have to spell it out. Treasure Island’s Jim Hawkins was a great first-person narrator because he was in peril. I was fond of two teen novels, one of which was a sci fi in which there’s a time jump and the narrator starts the next chapter with “Mr Loomis shot me” and wow! The other was “Look for Me by Moonlight” by Mary Downing Hahn because I was as fooled as the protagonist until the plot twist. Dean Koontz’s Odd Thomas wouldn’t work at all if told from the third person. Oh, and how about “Flowers for Algernon”?

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